Solar syncs Salesforce to Outlook in a Citrix environment

Solar A/S, with headquarters in Denmark, is a leading sourcing and service company with a number of subsidiaries throughout Europe. The company uses Citrix virtual desktops to simplify and standardize their end-user experience. This includes running Outlook on Citrix. When the company chose to implement Salesforce, they needed to find a solution to synchronize Salesforce for their Outlook and mobile users. Riva CRM Integration provides advanced integration with Exchange and provides full support for Outlook on Citrix and all Apple devices – which was especially important to Solar. Riva was able to be customized and configured to fit the company’s specific requirements and deliver increased user satisfaction and adoption of the new Salesforce implementation. It improved the entire sales cycle and brought it to a whole new level of success.

Overview

Solar A/S was founded in 1919. The company has grown into an industry leader across several business areas. A key point to their success, and Solar’s main business focus, is the sourcing of various products and components for everything from heavy industry to plumbing and ventilation. Solar offers tailored services that support their customer’s efforts to optimize daily processes, develop their skills, and run a more profitable businesses.

The Challenge

Solar recently implemented Salesforce as their CRM. An important requirement for Solar was the ability to sync information between Salesforce and e-mail using Microsoft Exchange as the backend collaboration server. From the beginning of the project, Solar expected seamless and reliable synchronization to be included as part of their Salesforce implementation. They soon discovered that the standard Salesforce integration options would not meet their requirements.

Synchronization of mobile devices: Solar employs hundreds of sales representatives. A key success factor of the sales team is continuous access to the relevant customer data (from Salesforce) from their desktops, laptops, and mobile devices (whether connected to the Internet or not). Since the sales team relies heavily on mobile devices, it was a top priority to provide a seamless solution for all users. It was extremely important that customer data be accessible, no matter what mobile device was being used.

Complex IT environment with Citrix: Solar’s security and infrastructure reflect the complexity and requirements of most enterprise companies. Like many enterprise customers, Solar’s environment includes different operating systems and Line-of-Business solutions including Citrix Virtual Desktops, SAP ERP, Microsoft Exchange, and iOS mobile devices. That’s why a reliable sync solution became challenging. Most CRM Outlook synchronization solutions require installation at the individual desktop level. These solutions are not compatible with Citrix and Terminal Services environments. During the search for a suitable solution, Riva CRM Integration was recommended to Solar by another existing Danish Riva customer that had a positive experience with Riva within a complex SAP and Citrix environment. Because Riva syncs CRM systems on the server-side, directly to Microsoft Exchange, there are no Outlook plug-ins that need to be installed on the individual desktops or mobile devices.

Customizable integration with Salesforce: In order to ensure the highest success and quality of CRM data, Solar’s goal was to have a high level of acceptance within the company for their newly implemented Salesforce system. That’s why the new sales processes had to be as easy as possible to use. To ensure this, Solar wanted all of their users to have only the most relevant contacts from the CRM system pre-filtered in their e-mail contacts. If every sales representative had all CRM contacts available in their e-mail system, it would simply be too confusing and hard to use.

The Solution

When Solar came across Riva, all of their challenges were solved with a single stroke. Riva synchronizes Salesforce data directly to Exchange which then makes the data available on all mobile devices – without having to install any apps on the mobile devices. This is highly desirable in complex IT environments like Solar. Advanced configuration and customization allow the company to control and filter relevant information that is synchronized to the devices.

High flexibility with synchronization of all mobile devices: Solar’s sales representatives and account managers travel often. They rely on their iPads and iPhones, when creating, modifying, and reporting their sales calls and related calendar appointments to Salesforce from their mobile Outlook e-mail interfaces. The server-side synchronization of Riva is constantly working “behind the scenes”, regardless of user, location or device. Riva syncs calendar appointments and relevant contacts bi-directionally between Salesforce and Microsoft Exchange. The biggest advantage of transparent bi-directional synchronization from a user perspective is that all changes – no matter whether they are made in CRM or users email clients – get synchronized. The right Salesforce customer data and appointments are always up-to-date and available to the right users!

Easy implementation in a complex IT environment with Citrix: Solar struggled with technical issues when they tried to install and configure Riva On-Premise using internal resources. Solar reached out to Riva for support, and Riva responded by providing immediate and sophisticated technical support. With Riva’s high standard for support, they were even able to assist Solar with solving issues related to simultaneous testing of other competitive synchronization solutions. Solar was very happy with the technical support and best practices guidance that the Riva technical team provided during the pilot phase to meet their complex and demanding sync requirements. Solar’s synchronization requirements are being satisfied by a single server installed in Solar’s data centre. Riva’s server-side sync allows users to benefit by having Salesforce data on all their devices and laptops, regardless of the operating systems. Solar implemented Citrix because virtual desktops are less expensive and easier to manage, maintain, and upgrade. Because there are no plug-ins that need to be installed on user desktops, Solar’s virtual desktop users’ Salesforce information is automatically synchronized by Riva and is seamlessly available in Outlook. Solar’s most important requirement – to integrate Salesforce and Microsoft Exchange for all workstations and devices – was met with Riva’s server-side integration.

Customization to sync defined data to Salesforce: On top of Riva’s “out of the box” features, a customization called “custom object filter” was implemented for Solar. Instead of syncing all user-owned and user-visible contacts, this customization enables filtering and synching of only user-specified, marked contacts from the CRM contacts folder. This made the usage of mobile devices for contact search and appointment creating much faster and more user-friendly. Instead of having hundreds of CRM contacts in the mobile Outlook e-mail folder to choose from, users now have access to only the most relevant contacts – pre-filtered and synced from the CRM.

The Results

Solar considers Riva CRM Integration a critical value-add to their internal and external sales processes. Other Salesforce native and third-party sync solutions just couldn’t meet Solar’s requirements and expectations. The high complexity of the IT environment and the varying devices of the sales staff created an unresolvable challenge for the other solutions Solar evaluated. Riva went beyond Solar’s expectations not only with the synchronization in their complex IT environment but also with the customization of the “custom object filter”.

Since implementing Riva, Solar has upgraded several of their systems including their e-mail system (Outlook Exchange) in their Citrix environment. Against the company’s expectations, the upgrades happened without any challenges being caused by Riva. According to Magnus Fridén, IT Solution Architect, “From my experience in Enterprise IT Project Management, I was quite surprised that absolutely nothing was required to be changed in Riva while our e-mail system upgrade was being completed. This upgrade did not affect Riva CRM Integration at all and everything was running as smoothly after the upgrade as before. This was once again, a very positive experience.”

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